Frying Pan Farm Park is about receive an influx of all things agricultural as the 59th Annual 4-H Fair revisits the grounds for two days of equestrian events, livestock judging and contests.
“It’s as close to around here as you can get to a country fair,” said Yvonne Johnson, historian and Visitor’s Center manager at the Herndon park. “It’s been running on this property even before this land was a park. It’s such a wonderful tradition and we’re happy to be part of it.”
According to Johnson, the park receives an average of 12,000 visitors during the course of the fair, which will also feature the annual Frying Pan Farm Show. Heidi Crockett, an extension agent for 4-H Youth Development believes the crowds are largely due to the family atmosphere the fair provides.
“We try to make it a great family event for everybody,” she said. “I think the main draw is that it’s family oriented. Most of the time when the cars come through the gates, it’s families.”
WITH ITS OFFICES located in Fairfax, the Fairfax County chapter of 4-H is part of the Virginia Cooperative Extension and geared towards educating and fostering citizenship and life skills in children between the ages 5 and eighteen. Offering a range of concentrations, from animal sciences to leadership and personal development, there are currently 400 area children participating in the 4-H youth development programs, or roughly 7,000 when including participation in area school outreach programs. According to Crockett, the range of subject matter covered within 4-H can be seen in the exhibit section of the fair, which she says has “everything from stationary exhibits to web design.”
In conjunction with Frying Pan Farm Park’s Farm Show, the two-day event will also feature equestrian shows, old-fashioned games, goat milking, safety demonstrations, civil war reenactors, rides for children and even some contests that test the appetite.
“The pie eating contest is always popular and everyone around can enter in the contest,” she said.
According to Crockett, winners of the various contests, such as the pound cake baking contest, will advance to the State Fair of Virginia, held in Richmond, Sept. 27 through Oct. 7.
Nadia Ghosheh, a 16-year-old student at Flint Hill and president of the 4-H fairboard, is looking forward to the range of events, especially the dog show, which she will be a competitor.
Ghosheh says she’s been working around 30 hours a week since June to prepare for this weekend’s fair, helping oversee every aspect of the event’s production.
“We get the ribbons, we get the T-shirts, I could go on for days,” she said.
A member of 4-H since her family moved to Herndon when she was 5-years-old, Ghosheh says the best part about being a member is meeting new people and developing close friendships with children throughout the county.
“It’s definitely the way to meet new people,” she said. “You could be really weird and dog nerdy like me and they really don’t care. I have some really good friends.”
Ghosheh says another perk of the organization is the variety of knowledge that can be learned.
“You learn random things,” she said. “You really don’t process it at first, but when someone asks you a question, you’re right there with the answers.”
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, the 4-H Fair and Frying Pan Farm Park Farm Show runs Saturday, Aug. 4 and Sunday, Aug. 5, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at the parks location, 2709 West Ox Road, Herndon. Admission to the event and parking are both free.
“It’s a great opportunity to get involved together,” said Crockett. “It’s pretty amazing to think about a fair that’s been in the same location for almost 60 years.”